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Monthly Film Series – Ben-Hur
November 9, 2019 @ 6:15 pm - 10:00 pm
NOTE Special Time: 6:15 p.m. for popcorn; movie starts at 6:30 p.m. (Running time: 212 minutes) Invite your friends – everyone is welcome!
Catholic film reviewer Stephen Greydanus (decentfilms.com) gives Ben-Hur an “A” rating with 3 ½ stars for artist / entertainment value and 2 stars for spiritual / moral value.
Greydanus says, “The grandest of Hollywood’s classic biblical epics, William Wyler’s Ben-Hur doesn’t transcend its genre, with its emphasis on spectacle and melodrama, but it does these things about as well as they could possibly be done.”
This is Hollywood’s third adaptation of General Lew Wallace’s novel following two silent versions. Winner of eleven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, Ben-Hur intertwines a classic revenge epic that includes a pious message of forgiveness with a reverent telling of the life of Christ from his birth, to his hidden life, to his public ministry, to his passion and death.
The dramatic story focuses on the relationship between Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston), a Jewish prince whose boyhood friendship with a Roman officer named Messala (Stephen Boyd) turns to enmity over politics and betrayal. It is capped by the classic chariot race, a brilliant action sequence, with Heston and Boyd doing their own riding and nearly all their own stunts. Christ is ever-present (in the movie as he is today) although we never see his face or hear his voice.
Although not a spiritually profound film, Ben-Hur does include a strikingly evocative image of Christ’s redemptive death: Jesus’ blood pools at the foot of the cross and,
mixed with the rainwater from a sudden deluge, runs down the mountain and over the land, touching the feet of Judah Ben-Hur as he walks unknowingly by.
Note: Summary based on Greydanus review at http://decentfilms.com/reviews/benhur1959